” I just dont have time”
“there are more important things in my life at the moment than the gym”
“I’m too busy to cook”
In the politest way possible, Bullshit!
I hear this a lot, people excusing their lack of commitment because life just gets in the way, or they’ve got too much on their plate at the minute. It’s its Intriguing really, whenever someone describes their life as “hectic” I always picture being at work from 7-6, with 5 kids to ferry around, feed and look after, dependant relatives, maybe the odd pet and all the housework to do when they get home. In this instance, I could understand struggling to fit gym time in your schedule each week.
There’s a few caveats here, firstly, are you really that busy? Or is it just that you would rather scoff a bag of crisps and watch TV? And if you ARE really that busy, there is no reason to abort any hope of a healthy lifestyle, there are always solutions and work-arounds.
This said, it’s certainly easier to collapse on the sofa after a hard day instead of hitting the gym for squats and it is certainly easier to grab a Twix from the vending machine than to pack a protein shake and some nuts before you leave the house. We live in a world saturated with comfortable solutions and sugary quick fixes, we are encouraged at every turn to indulge (because we deserve it) and relax. Simply put, advertising and profit incentives cause us to succumb to the appealing advertising of confectionary, comfy chairs and effort saving solutions to every day problems.
We need to fight this off this sedentary, gluttonous lifestyle the best we can. And to do that, we need a steadfast plan, one that we can rely on when the sofas lure is too great or the vending machine whips out a knife, threatens you into a dark alley and demands your wallet (and waistline).
Now, obviously, this is easier said than done and it takes steely determination to stick to your guns when everyone is telling you otherwise. I like to use this scenario as a test of how much you’re willing to sacrifice:
You’re trying to lose some fat, you look in the mirror every morning and wish you saw a cover model staring back at you. You’ve taken all the steps, joined a gym, hired PropaneFitness and you’ve been consistent for nearly a fortnight, the pounds are dropping off and you’re happier than ever. Friday night rolls around and you join your friends in the pub, they order ribs, pizza and round after round of drinks. When you abstain, they ridicule you and demean you in anyway possible. “come on, you don’t need to lose weight, you’re no fun, just have a few drinks and a slice of pizza”.
How would you approach this problem? If your answer would be an equally derogatory comment in retort, smashing their ego with a snipe about their soft, blurry excuse for a body before ordering a pint of water and sticking to the plan, you’ve got the right mindset, the eye of the tiger.
If however, you’d blush and cave in, before gorging on enough calories to sustain a small economy, you need to check your attitude. My point? Don’t even bother planning your diet and training If you don’t have the right mindset. Sort that first – get pissed off and learn to really want your goal, you have to be ready to fight for it, even when your friends go against you and the odds are no longer stacked in your favour.
To be honest, the attitude is the hardest part. In the words of Dave Tate, a famous powerlifter, “Passion fucking trumps everything” – excuse the French. He has a point. If you decide that you really want something and you focus all of your efforts on it, nothing, no amount of toffee covered, chocolate infused, triple-fudge cheesecake will stop you.
So, lets say, mentally, you’re in the right place and you’re willing to really give this a go. How can you actually have a life while covering your nutritional and training targets. Well, the simplest answer is that it’ll come with time. Eventually you’ll learn that, for example, you train best in the evenings and that you can hit the gym at 6 and meet friends after, you’ll discover that you stick to your diet better if you plan your meals in advance or maybe you’ll find out that you only need rough guidelines and you can be a bit more lenient with your food choices, there is no cookie cutter approach.
However, it would be a bit of a cop out for me to just say “go do it yourself”. So, here’s how I go about fitting everything into a daily or weekly schedule.
First, I decide on what I want to achieve. So currently I’m interested in gaining strength and some size in my shoulders, upper back and legs while reducing fat through hormone manipulation and diet. At the same time, I want to have enough time to be able to work for 2-3 hours (on top of my lectures) for my degree, I want to be able to play college rugby and have enough time to see friends and socialise on top on this.
So, I categorize my commitments:
- The Have to’s: Lectures, uni commitments. These are unavoidable, fixed points in my week, if I can’t make the time, they wont wait for me. So, obviously, these come first. While they can be a bit of a pain I like the backbone that they give to a day or week. For example, if my day merely consisted of TV and Facebook it would be very easy to slip into lazy habits and put off other things like the gym or work. Simply put, if I know that I only have a 2 hour window in the day where I can train, I’ll do it. The have to’s arent always unpleasant, they could include rugby training/game or a campus event.
- The Supposed to’s: The gym, eating well, uni work, proper sleep and rest. Honestly, I enjoy most of the supposed to’s, I don’t consider the gym or sleep a task, eating right and work can sometimes be a pain though. I slot these around my Have to’s. So, 3 lectures and rugby training on a given day? I would probably train in the morning before they start, giving me time to recover for training in the afternoon, pack food or make sure that I can get something decent on campus and use the hour or so between lectures to get some additional work done or complete any assignments. Finally, I make sure I get 7-8 hours sleep and foam roll at some point – all done. Generally, I do as much of the supposed to’s as possible but I never let them interfere with the Have to’s (no skipping lectures for squats or an extra 15 minutes kip).
- The Want to’s: Socialising, nights out, leisure time. It goes without saying that in a perfect world this would feature near the top of most people’s priority lists. Unfortunatley, some things just need doing. So, again, I fit in as much of the want to’s into my week as possible, without interfering with the supposed to’s or have to’s. Simple.
Grab a piece of paper, write your goals in bold at the top and then respect the sequence: Have to’s -> Supposed to’s -> Want to’s. Give each a bit of time in your weekly schedule and get your priorities sorted. You’ll enjoy a night with friends much more if you’ve done all your work, eaten well and been to the gym already.